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The Palestinian Central Council voted to postpone its declaration of an independent state; in Gaza, members of the Gaza Accountants Association fought with police after several accountants were arrested for firing their weapons in the air.Spanish police arrested twenty Basque terrorists.Someone fired a mortar at a Royal Ulster Constabulary station in Armagh, Northern Ireland.Protesters prevented the distribution of gasoline in England, causing 90 percent of the country’s filling stations to run dry; Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to reduce fuel taxes.Similar demonstrations over fuel prices took place all across Europe.José Bové, the Frenchfarmer who vandalized a McDonald’s while protesting globalization, was sent to jail for three months.Unknown terrorists bombed the Jakarta, Indonesia, stock exchange, killing at least thirteen.Former Indonesian president Suharto, whose son has been implicated in the recent bombings, called in sick again for his corruption trial; the court ordered medical tests to determine his true state of health.A Southwest Airlines passenger was beaten to death by other passengers on a flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake City after he tried to attack the flight crew.People in Coral Gables, Florida, were upset over a new rule allowing the City Commission to bar irritating people from meetings.The newest version of Qualcomm’s Eudora email program was released; it contained software designed to detect “aggressive, demeaning, or rude language.”
The Bush campaign was preoccupied with a controversy over a negative ad that was said to contain subliminal messages; Governor Bush denied that the flashing word “rats” was “subliminable.” Lawsuits were filed against the makers of Ritalin; lawyers claimed that the company was conspiring to expand the market for the stimulant, which is used to treat hyperactivity in children, beyond its legitimate use.An education advocacy group warned that spending money on computers and Internet connections for schools is a big waste of money with no demonstrable educational benefit.Bill Gates announced that globalism is good.Napster said that use of its services had quadrupled since the company was sued by the recording industry.A new book by a prominent British psychologist argued that having enemies improves one’s quality of life.Russian prosecutors failed to reopen a treason case against Aleksandr Nikitin, a former navy captain who exposed the Russian navy’s practice of dumping nuclear waste at sea.There were reports that former CIA director John Deutch, who was recently accused of downloading classified CIA material (including information about covert operations) to his personal, unsecured computer, also violated security rules by downloading classified material when he worked at the Pentagon.Federal prosecutors abandoned their case against Wen Ho Lee and offered him a plea bargain and let him out of jail; previously they had compared Lee to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and said that releasing him from prison would endanger hundreds of millions of people.Judge James A. Parker chastised the government for needlessly tormenting a sixty-year-old scientist and apologized to Lee on behalf of the entire judiciary.Auditors gave seven out of twenty-four government agencies a failing grade for computer security; overall the government received a D-.
A TWA pilot at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City aborted a takeoff after he realized that a cockpit window was open.A former chef at the White House filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss; she also named President Clinton in the suit for failing to establish a policy for dealing with such complaints.American breasts got larger last year, with the most popular bra size increasing from 36B to 36C; experts pointed to growing obesity and record numbers of breast augmentation procedures.New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was treated for cancer; doctors implanted radioactive seeds in his prostate.Peru’s Moralizing Independent Front, an opposition party, released a videotape of Vladimiro Montesinos, the head of the National Intelligence Service (SIN), bribing an opposition lawmaker with $15,000. President Alberto Fujimori surprised everyone by calling for new elections and announcing that he would not be a candidate; he also said he would “deactivate” the SIN.Christian Solidarity International, a Swiss aid group, bought 4,435 slaves in Sudan and set them free; so far the group has bought 38,000 slaves, causing some to wonder whether they were contributing to the market in human chattel.The Olympic games were being held on the site of a toxic waste dump in Sydney, Australia.People who play team sports are healthier, a report said.Astronauts from the space shuttle Atlantis installed a treadmill on the international space station.
A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association concluded that Rottweiler dogs now kill more people than do pit bulls.Two economists published a book claiming that gun violence costs America $100 billion a year.A police officer in California accidentally shot an eleven-year-old boy in the back with a shotgun during a drug raid.294,000 Bic-brand cigarette lighters were recalled because they lack child-safety features.The federal government said that New York was not adequately prepared for biological terrorism.Twenty-five New Yorkers, including one infant, were poisoned after they ingested ammonia that somehow was present in their bottled water; three false reports were attributed to anxiety caused by news coverage of the poisonings.Honey-bee farmers in Macedonia sued NATO because its bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia put their bees under “a terrible stress” and ruined this year’s honey crop.The Mexican forest where Monarch butterflies winter was being cut down.Scientists noticed that the Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey had been extinct for twenty years.Bird watchers discovered that CBS Sports was routinely dubbing bird calls into its golf broadcasts; CBS has put a stop to the practice.Dutch legislators thumped their desks enthusiastically as they passed a law giving gay couples full marriage rights.A mayor on Lesbos, the Greek island, asked a court to ban 100 British lesbians who were under the mistaken impression that the island was “a paradise of gay love.”
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didnâ€™t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť